Father is a Prince (1940)

John Bower (Grant Mitchell) is a carpet-sweeper manufacturer. He’s got a short temper and lives by the motto “Time is money, and I don’t waste my money.” He has no patience for anything — the vacuum cleaners that compete with his carpet-sweepers, tardiness, inefficiency.

Bower’s got a bad attitude when it comes to just about everything. He’s a workaholic, and because he found success without earning a college degree, he doesn’t want his children going to college either.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Things become tense within the family as daughter Connie (Jan Clayton) becomes engaged to a man named Gary (George Reeves), who is not only a well-educated lawyer but is also the heir to a vacuum manufacturing company.

Noel Smith directs 1940’s Father is a Prince. The film was written for the screen by Robert E. Kent from a play by Sophie Kerr and Anna Steese Richardson.

Father is a Prince is a frantically-paced film, driven by the very quick delivery of dialogue by all of the actors. Running at just under 60 minutes, not a second seems wasted, but with such a short run-time the story isn’t too deeply fleshed out. The plot is somewhat complex, with multiple issues occurring for the family at once, but still quite predictable. My biggest qualm with the script is that with such a short run-time, the whole tax subplot is distracting. The film would have fared better to focus on the family and Connie’s controversial relationship.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The film succeeds in that its performances are convincing and that the drama picks up once Connie gets home and announces her engagement.

Prior to this announcement, the film provides a quick slice of the life of this very average American family. The patriarch’s flaws show early on in the film, but as the film progresses the cracks in the whole group really begin to show. Things never get too dark or dramatic, though, until the final quarter.

I was expecting more from Father is a Prince, but it isn’t a bad little watch. I don’t feel terribly strong about it one way or the other. The score: 2.5/5

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